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Notes from Louisiana legislature

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BATON ROUGE, La. (KNOE 8 News/AP) - Louisiana's "navigator" organizations that get grants to help consumers enroll in insurance available under the federal health care law would have to be licensed by the state, under a bill heading to the Senate floor for consideration.

The bill (House Bill 764) by Rep. Kevin Pearson, R-Slid ell, to require the licensing and registration with Louisiana's commissioner of insurance received approval without objection Wednesday from the Senate Insurance Committee.

"It is just an attempt really to protect our consumers," Pearson said.

The measure already has received unanimous House passage.

Navigators are designated by the federal health department. They help walk people through the complex process of buying insurance on the online marketplace. They must complete a training program and pass an exam to be certified with federal officials.

Pearson's bill would let the state insurance commissioner add new training requirements up to 30 hours of initial education and 15 hours per year continuing education. It would require navigator applicants to submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check.

None of the state's current four navigator organizations objected to the bill.

___

A new exception to the state ethics code is nearing final passage, but faces an uncertain future if it reaches Gov. Bobby Jindal's desk.

The House and Governmental Affairs agreed without objection Wednesday to the proposal by Sen. Dan "Blade" Moorish that would allow local governing officials in a town with 5,000 residents or less to do business with people who have contracts with the town.


Moorish

, R-Jennings, said small communities have trouble finding people to serve in office because of current restrictions. But Jindal has vetoed the bill for the last two years, saying he saw no reason for the exception.

"I don't know if it's the third time is the charm of three strikes and you're out,"Moorishh told the House committee.

The bill (Senate Bill 122) includes new language that would restrict compensation from the contractual relationship to $10,000 or less per year in the hopes of winning passage from Jindal this time. The money would have to be reported to the state ethics board.

The measure moves to the House floor for consideration. It already has received Senate approval.

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